revel in the looks from fashion east fall/winter 16
AV Robertson, Richard Malone, and Caitlin Price stormed the Tate Britain at this season's Fashion East showcase.
Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans
Marc Jacobs doesn't sit front row at your average emerging talent showcase, but Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East group show is galaxy far away from average. London has got to be the world leader for nurturing young designers, through the decade-long NEWGEN scheme and other talent incubators, and Fashion East is truly the cream of the crop. "You have to believe in the talent and really nurture it," Kennedy said backstage, and that incredible belief and trust was nowhere more evident than in the quite sensational runway debut of Amie Victoria Robertson with her label AV Robertson, for which fashion fairy godmother Kennedy enlisted the help of super stylist Katie Grand and casting director Anita Bitton — the team behind Marc Jacobs's New York Fashion Week show — who selected an army of new supers to walk.
Lineisy Montero, current i-D cover star Dilone, Damaris Goddrie, Anna Cleveland, Molly Bair, Kiki Willems, Edie Campbell, and Georgia May Jagger stormed down the gallery runway at Topshop's Tate Britain space wearing high-neck silk tops, overcoats (worn hanging off one shoulder), jumpsuits and pencil dresses (worn folded at the waist, the straps hanging down and the luxurious silk lining on display) bra-lets and skirts with draped asymmetric panels in navy and maroon blazer-striped suit fabric, embellished with Robertson's signature iridescent, crystalline flowers.
"I have really vivid dreams — I don't actually sleep properly — and that's when all my ideas come, at night," Robertson told i-D backstage, shortly after being congratulated by Marc Jacobs, with whom she recently interned. "I had this dream about an alien land and creatures with alien flowers kind of bursting out of them… when they hit Earth the flowers kind of burst out of them, from the clothes, out of the seams," she says of the embellishments, explaining that the stripes were introduced to add "a horror element to it, so it's not so pretty — because of the sparkle it could come across as quite girly. I was looking at Beetlejuice and that's where the blazer stripes come from; stripes going in different directions, so it messes with your head a little bit," she explains.
Showing for the second time as part of Fashion East, Richard Malone was inspired by blue-collar workwear, working-class signifiers, and his aunt Ann, who arrived at his communion wearing a spandex zebra-print dress, combat boots, and a shaved head — her Celtic tattoos on full view. But Saint Laurent it ain't — instead, the references have been transformed into fluid apron dresses, flares, and asymmetric skirts in swirling stripes with ruffled backs, bustles and ruching. There were sporty, sunshine-yellow and turquoise zebra-print tops and a quilted jacket with mutton-leg sleeves.
"All the blues are from when I used to work on building sites," Malone explains after the show. "And I love doing the zebra, because it's a bad-taste thing, like my auntie Ann going to communion — it's a very-working class, empowering thing to be a zebra-print minidress woman, it's not a too-sexy, looked-down-on thing. It's a 'Good for you, woman!' empowering thing."
Is it important to for Malone to celebrate his working-class background? "At this time in fashion, people like me can't go to university — that's a reality now because of the fees going up ‚ so I think it's important for me to look at [working-class culture] and celebrate it; I think it's going to be slowly and gradually lost, and also those workwear styles are more and more a uniform that's identifying a section of class, in London especially. Since I moved here, the rents have gone hysterical and I wonder: How can students do it?
Also returning to Fashion East, for a third season, Caitlin Price reprised her tracksuit couture, with perfectly tailored bustier tops and pants; silk, mohair, and fake-fur-paneled zip-up tops; sporty cut-out dresses with silk skirt flounces; and her trademark ballgown skirt sections, attached with a fabric strap around the waist.
"We introduced some tailoring pieces this season, so it felt like trying to be a bit more sophisticated and grown-up, but not really being able to pull it off," Price jokes backstage, "I reference a lot of 1960s evening-wear, draped pieces. So kind of cutting those onto sports bras, onto track pants — that's my thing, I always reference couture, that just fascinates me".
The darker style of the collection was inspired by a very modern muse — a girl who randomly added her on Facebook. "She's called Valeria. She's a Greek girl, she just moved to London, and she has a dark, chola-girl look — I based all the hair and makeup references and the piercings on her," Price explains. "She's amazing, and she's backstage — we shot all the jewelery and the sunglasses on her."
Also on the Fashion East roster for fall/winter 16 is Mimi Wade, who showed a collection of hand-painted leather dresses and coats, and silk slips with Sophie Hallette lace — all worthy of B-movie femmes fatale — in a static presentation before the catwalk show, styled by Anna Trevelyan. "This collection was inspired by films that I really adore, like Bonnie and Clyde, The Girl on a Motorcycle and Belle du Jour," Mimi tells i-D. "I actually didn't realize [at first], but all the films are from the late 1960s, and all the stories are about these girls escaping domestic oppression and their relatively boring lives in pursuit of something quite outrageous. I like that they don't care, and their willing to defy social stereotypes; it's about women doing what they want to do, and not really caring about people's preconceptions," she noted, adding, "I like to design for a woman like that".
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans